header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
56°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
May 7
1861 - Andres Pico and partners granted state franchise to build toll road and cut 50-foot-deep cleft through (Newhall) Pass; they failed; Beale later succeeded [story]
Andres Pico


| Monday, May 29, 2017
Loading...
 
Rod Bennett Scholarships - James Klipfel and Diego Rumer

Saugus High School graduating seniors James Klipfel and Diego Rumer hold their Rod Bennett Memorial Scholarship Fund certificates, awarded at Saugus High May 16. Photo: Stephen K. Peeples.

Saugus High School graduating seniors James Klipfel and Diego Rumer received the first two Rod Bennett Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund awards at the school’s 2017 senior honors ceremony on Tuesday night, May 16.

Klipfel and Rumer both received checks for $2,000 toward their college studies from the Bennett trust fund, one of 10 Santa Clarita Valley Scholarship Foundation scholarships awarded to Saugus High School students during the evening at the school’s gym.

Valencia resident Valerie Pryor established the fund in January in the name of her husband, who was killed by a hit and run driver on Placerita Canyon Road on May 25, 2016, for college-bound students graduating from Wm. S. Hart Union High School District schools.

>> RELATED: Scholarship Fund Established in Honor of Beloved Arroyo Seco Teacher

Bennett, just 53, was a revered and respected math and music instructor at Arroyo Seco Junior High School and was enjoying his first semester as the school’s band director. Off campus, he was a devoted husband, sportsman, world traveler and an active recording and performing musician.

>> RELATED:  Guitarist Jim Hagen Grooves with Rod Bennett’s Vibes on ‘Jazzical’

When he died, Bennett was midway through recording a new album with longtime bandmate and collaborator Jim Hagen, who completed the album, titled “Jazzical,” and released it May 19, dedicating it to Bennett.

Rod Bennett Scholarships - Val and Rod in Baja

Rod Bennett and Val Pryor, good times at Las Nubes Winery, Guadalupe Valle, Baja California, April 7, 2016. Photo courtesy Val Pryor.

Pryor, assistant general manager of the Castaic Lake Water Agency, attended the Saugus High School ceremony to present the awards certificates and checks to Rumer and Klipfel.

Joining Pryor in making the presentation was Bennett’s cousin Debbie Nelson, a retired high school teacher (Family and Consumer Sciences) now serving as executive director of the Colorado Association for Career and Technical Education.

“Many of you know that Rod Bennett was a longtime math and music teacher at Arroyo Seco Junior High and was tragically killed last year, and I created this scholarship honoring his memory,” Pryor said from the podium, with Nelson at her side.

“He was an avid outdoorsman, cyclist, kayak fisherman, and musician, and he loved teaching math and music,” Pryor said. “He opened up this classroom to his students and other students to teach music, and quite a few of his students went on to play music here at Saugus High School. So, I wanted to honor his memory, but I also wanted to maintain his contributions to the students of this community, so we’re awarding two $2,000 scholarships tonight.”

The Bennett scholarships went to a pair of outstanding students who studied music at Saugus and will continue to pursue music in their college studies.

The Santa Clarita Valley Foundation Scholarships selection committee chose the honorees based on criteria Pryor established – the recipient must be a Hart District senior who has studied music for at least two of their high school years and plans to attend college.

Rumer, from Santa Clarita, and Klipfel, an Acton resident, were among the Hart District seniors who applied for the inaugural Bennett Scholarships early this year.

Rod Bennett Scholarships - Nelson, Rumer, Pryor

Debbie Nelson and Val Pryor chat with Rod Bennett Memorial Scholarship winner Diego Rumer, a Saugus High School graduating senior. Photo: Stephen K. Peeples.

“I’d known Mr. Bennett since the 7th grade,” Rumer said after the ceremony, above the cacophony of hundreds of students and their families excitedly exchanging congratulations on the gym floor.

“He had this rock club program, and I was interested in music, so I would always show up during lunch and I’d always play,” Rumer said. “I didn’t know about the scholarship until I checked the application, and then I saw his name. And of course, after what happened, it was terrible. And I had a personal connection.”

Rumer, an eight-year bass guitar player set to major in jazz studies at San Francisco State University starting this fall, said Bennett – a vibraphone player as well as a bassist – directly influenced his career choice.

“I didn’t know what I really wanted to do for a while, but he kind of pushed me more toward music, and I developed a love for music out of that,” said Rumer, who said he listens to many legendary bass players, but he’s most inspired by the late Jaco Pastorius.

Klipfel could not be reached for comment, but in addition to taking music courses in high school, he is an Eagle Scout who helped raise funds and coordinated a food drive for the SCV Food Pantry in 2016.

Rod Bennett Scholarships - recording with James Hagen

Rod Bennett (right) recording at Busy Bee Studios in Santa Clarita with Jim Hagen (left) and Roger Brooks, November 2015. Photo courtesy Val Pryor.

Klipfel began his senior semester at Saugus High School that September considering whether to continue his studies at the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of California, Davis, or UCLA. He is planning a career in aeronautics or aerospace, according to a recent newspaper story.

The Rod Bennett Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund is one of three music-related scholarships administered by the Santa Clarita Valley Scholarship Foundation, which oversees another 152 scholarships as well.

The SCVSF grants up to $250,000 in scholarships each year to graduating Hart District high school seniors. The 501(c)3 nonprofit organization received more than 700 applications by the February 1 deadline for this year’s cash grants.

SCVSF committees made up of community members, retired Hart District employees, and current counselor representatives from each high school screened the applications and made recommendations for specific scholarships.

>> RELATED: Santa Clarita Remembers Good Vibes with Rod Bennett

On the night of selections, committees used those recommendations but also considered all applications from each school. The scholarship recipients’ names were kept under wraps until announced at the schools’ respective awards ceremonies in May.

Nelson was particularly close to her cousin and his wife and flew in from Denver for the awards ceremony honoring him.

“Rod and I shared both a career in education and a love of music, and so I wanted to be here to support Val,” Nelson said. “I’ve done lots of awards nights as a high school teacher, so I knew what it would be about. And I just wanted to honor the fact that Rod loved learning and he loved teaching and he loved music, and this is a way to carry that on in these young people.”

Awarded nine days shy of a year after Bennett’s death, the first Bennett Scholarships are doing what Pryor intended they do: keeping her husband’s legacy alive.

“Rod did so much for this community and the students he taught, and I wanted to continue this legacy,” Pryor said. “And I thought just by having these scholarships, I can keep some of his contributions going.”

To contribute to the Rod Bennett Memorial Scholarship Trust Fund, or to apply for one of the future Bennett scholarships, go to RodBennettMemorialFund.org.

This is a version of an article first published here. Posted here with permission.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

3 Comments

  1. Phil Vice Robi Petrelli-kirby Michael Kirby

  2. That’s awesome congratulations !

  3. I am so glad this scholarship fund has been created and now has its 1st recipients. My son had Mr. Bennett for band’ last year. They shared common stories of drumming and biking. His loss has crushed us all.

Leave a Comment


LOCAL SCHOOL LINKS
Related Content
LATEST SCHOOL NEWS
Friday, May 7, 2021
After publicly expressing their support for hosting live graduations earlier this year, William S. Hart Union High School District officials outlined their proposed plans for the Class of 2021 ceremonies during their Wednesday night governing board meeting.
Friday, May 7, 2021
Calling all high school and college seniors – the city of Santa Clarita Arts and Events Division is seeking 2021 graduates to exhibit their 2021 graduation caps in a virtual gallery.
Friday, May 7, 2021
The city of Santa Clarita Human Relations Roundtable voiced strong support for the removal of the race-based “Indians” mascot at Hart High School in an open letter to the William S. Hart District School Board in alignment with the recently released statement of the Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians.
Thursday, May 6, 2021
The William S. Hart Union High School District is looking for one new member to serve on the Measure SA Citizens’ Oversight Committee.
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Santa Clarita Valley public junior high and high school students will remain in the blended learning model — two days a week of in-person instruction — for the remainder of the year, William S. Hart Union High School District officials announced Wednesday night.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, announced the introduction of Senate Joint Resolution 5, urging the federal government to immediately pass a correction to the Social Security formula to protect benefits for millions of Americans who turned 60 during the pandemic.
Wilk Introduces Resolution Urging Congress to Amend the Social Security Average Wage Index
The Santa Clarita City Council will consider allocating a little over $3.5 million in federal funding intended to support low- and moderate-income residents with decent and affordable housing and economic opportunities.
City Council to Consider Federal Funds in Support of Future Local Affordable Housing
The owners of Maria’s Italian Deli in Newhall, past and present, celebrated the restaurant’s reopening Wednesday, following last year’s announcement it would be closing its doors after 47 years.
Maria’s Italian Deli Celebrates Reopening Under New Owners
After publicly expressing their support for hosting live graduations earlier this year, William S. Hart Union High School District officials outlined their proposed plans for the Class of 2021 ceremonies during their Wednesday night governing board meeting.
Hart District Outlines Plans for Live Graduations
After plans fell through for a $100 million mall expansion that would have brought a second Costco to the Santa Clarita Valley, representatives from the big box retailer reached out to city officials to see if they could still make a second location a reality.
Costco Still Seeks Second Location in SCV
Nurses Week is underway and the Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN) is calling on registered nurse volunteers to assist with Covid-19 vaccinations at the Kedren Community Health Center in partnership with International Medical Corps.
RNRN Calls on Nurse Volunteers to Administer Covid-19 Vaccine Doses
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced it will begin a phased reopening of jail visitations at the Century Regional Detention Facility starting on Mother’s Day weekend, with all other locations predicted to reopen in June.
May 8: LASD Announce Jail Visitations to Resume at Century Regional Detention Facility
Calling all high school and college seniors – the city of Santa Clarita Arts and Events Division is seeking 2021 graduates to exhibit their 2021 graduation caps in a virtual gallery.
June 1: Deadline Set to Enter City’s Virtual Graduation Cap Photo Exhibition
On Friday, Los Angeles County Public Health officials confirmed 16 new deaths and 421 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 27,766 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: Daily Hospitalizations Hit New Low in LA County; 27,766 Total SCV Cases
The L.A. County Financial Navigators program, operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs’ Center for Financial Empowerment in partnership with Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, announced it is currently providing L.A. residents with free assistance to help them deal with the financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Financial Navigators Program Set to Help County Residents Facing COVID-19 Hardships
The city of Santa Clarita Human Relations Roundtable voiced strong support for the removal of the race-based “Indians” mascot at Hart High School in an open letter to the William S. Hart District School Board in alignment with the recently released statement of the Fernandeno Tataviam Band of Mission Indians.
SCV Human Relations Roundtable Releases Statement Supporting the Replacement of HHS Mascot
1861 - Andres Pico and partners granted state franchise to build toll road and cut 50-foot-deep cleft through (Newhall) Pass; they failed; Beale later succeeded [story]
Andres Pico
The Water Resources and Watershed Committee is scheduled to meet via teleconference on Wednesday, May 12, at 5:30 p.m.
May 12: Water Resources and Watershed Committee Teleconference Meeting
The California Interscholastic Federation has renewed a multi-year agreement with GoFan as the official digital ticketing partner to provide touchless, digital ticketing solutions to high schools and state-wide post season play across California.
CIF, GoFan Reach Multi-Year Agreement that Includes Post-Season Play
The County of Los Angeles announced Thursday that it has distributed 23 million units of free PPE through its joint effort with PPE Unite to protect 433,000 employees at small businesses across the County.
L.A. County Announces Distribution of 23 Million Units of PPE
The Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) has launched its annual CalFresh Awareness Month campaign to publicize the CalFresh Nutrition Program and acknowledge community partners throughout the month of May for helping to raise public awareness year-round.
Annual CalFresh Awareness Month Underway
The Santa Clarita City Council convened Tuesday evening to hear an overview of the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Striplin Presents Balanced Budget Which Includes $300K Surplus
This summer Mission Opera is happy to present a live outdoor operetta in one-act on June 5, 6, 12, and 13, in Santa Clarita.
Mission Opera to Present Live Outdoor Operetta, “Le 66”
The William S. Hart Union High School District is looking for one new member to serve on the Measure SA Citizens’ Oversight Committee.
Hart District Seeking Oversight Committee Member
The College of the Canyons Theatre Department will present “The Addams Family Quarantined Concert Version,” a live virtual musical production based on the eponymous beloved television series on May 7-9.
May 7-9: COC Theatre Presents, “The Addams Family Quarantined Concert Version”
Santa Clarita Valley public junior high and high school students will remain in the blended learning model — two days a week of in-person instruction — for the remainder of the year, William S. Hart Union High School District officials announced Wednesday night.
Hart District Announces Blended Learning Format to Continue for Remainder of Year
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 19 new deaths and 414 new cases of COVID-19, with 27,744 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Thursday COVID-19 Roundup: Reopenings Expand in L.A. County as Transmission Remains Low; SCV Cases Total 27,744
1971 - Fort Tejon added to National Register of Historic Places [story]
Fort Tejon
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials on Wednesday confirmed 21 new deaths and 287 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with Santa Clarita cases totaling 27,744.
Wednesday COVID-19 Roundup: L.A. County Health Officer Order Updates Effective Thursday; SCV Cases Total 27,744
%d bloggers like this: